2011 Sundance Docs in Focus: THE INTERRUPTERS

The Documentary Premieres section is the perfect fit for acclaimed returning director Steve James and his newest film, THE INTERRUPTERS, a masterful look at what one organization is doing to bring an end to violence in a beleaguered Chicago.

Sundance Program Description:

Living, breathing, modern-day heroes are inspiring hope on the scary streets of Chicago. Meet the Interrupters—former gang members who disrupt violence in their neighborhoods as it happens. Acclaimed director Steve James (HOOP DREAMS, STEVIE) working with noted author Alex Kotlowitz, recounts the gripping stories of men and women who, with bravado, humility, and humor, strive to protect their communities from the brutality they once employed. With his signature intimate vérité, James follows these individuals over the course of a year as they attempt to intervene in disputes before they turn violent: two brothers who threaten to shoot each other, an angry teenage girl just home from prison, and a young man on a warpath of revenge.

Both a voyage into the stubborn persistence of bloodshed in our cities today and a beacon of light, James’s unforgettable documentary captures each Interrupter’s inspired work, transporting us on a powerful journey from crime to trust to redemption.

Some Background:
James has been to Park City many times – in addition to the Academy Award-nominated HOOP DREAMS, which won the 1994 Sundance Documentary Audience Award, he brought STEVIE to the 2003 festival, picking up the Documentary Excellence in Cinematography Award, and returned two years later with REEL PARADISE. Notably, this is his sixth film with Kartemquin Films.

Why You Should Watch:
Some viewers might be initially put off by THE INTERRUPTERS’ lengthy running time – but forget about that; you’ll find that the way James has constructed his exceptional film will have you so engrossed that you won’t notice the time passing. So much is packed into the film that it at times feels like you’re watching a whole season of an exceptional TV show in one sitting. This is largely due to his three main subjects, who have such a depth of personality that it gives them natural screen presence. James films them with such immediacy that you feel like you’re alongside them in the streets of Chicago, trying to make a difference.

Screening Info:
For screening dates and times at Sundance, click the link in the first paragraph above. The film also has an official website, including a mailing list sign-up, and a Facebook page to keep audiences updated on future screenings and other plans.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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